Spire announces as 2023 driver, details with a look at silly season now

Spire announced that Corey LaJoie will return to his seat in the No. 7 Chevrolet for the 2023 season and also that Ty Dillon will pilot the No. 77 Chevrolet on a full-time basis too.

Spire is in the midst of its fourth season as a full-time entrant in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr-owned organization expanded to a two-car team in 2021, and added a part-time effort in the Camping World Truck Series this season.

They were founded during the 2018 season when they bought the pair of charters from Furniture Row Racing. They also had charters of their own. Last year, Kaulig bought two charters from Spire leaving them with 2 total charters left to which they’d use.

Spire has one win in each series: Justin Haley brought home the team’s first Cup Series triumph at Daytona International Speedway in 2019, and William Byron drove Spire’s No. 7 entry to victory in the Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway in April.

So where does this leave Silly Season. Most of the rides are now filled. The main thing left is Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing to announce Ty Gibbs as Kyle Busch’s replacement for the 18 car but outside of that, they’ll have Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell back with JGR and Bubba Wallace/Tyler Reddick with 23XI.

Ford is pretty much set too.

Penske signed Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano to multi-year extensions and has Austin Cindric on a rookie deal. Harrison Burton is back with the Wood Brothers while SHR has the same 4 car lineup with Aric Almirola announcing that he’ll forego retirement and come back on a new multi-year deal.

For Chevy, HMS is set with their current 4 car lineup with signing Kyle LarsonChase Elliott and William Byron to extensions already. Trackhouse has both drivers back with Daniel Suarez on a one-year contract extension. Kaulig has Justin Haley back and now AJ Allmendinger full-time in the 2nd car. RCR has Reddick and Busch. JTG has Ricky Stenhouse Jr. back. Petty GMS signed Erik Jones to an extension as well as bringing Noah Gragson up to drive the 42.

The only other rides for 2023 open are with smaller teams like Front Row Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing and Live Fast Motorsports.

2022 Charters

Chevrolet (15)

  • Hendrick Motorsports (4) – Larson, Elliott, Byron and Bowman. Each are back in 2023.
  • Trackhouse Racing (2) – Ross Chastain is back while Daniel Suarez signed a one-year extension.
  • Richard Childress Racing (2) – Austin Dillon is back in the 3 while Kyle Busch moves over to replace Tyler Reddick in the 8.
  • Petty GMS Racing (2) – Erik Jones is back while Noah Gragson moves up from the Xfinity Series to run the 42.
  • Kaulig Racing (2) – Justin Haley is back in 2023 with AJ Allmendinger taking the 2nd car on a full time ride next season too.
  • Spire Motorsports (2) – Corey LaJoie is back in the 7 while Ty Dillon drives the 77 now.
  • JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is back for 2023

Ford (15)

  • Stewart-Haas Racing (4) – All 4 drivers are back in 2023 but 3 of them are free agents for the season after.
  • Team Penske (3) – All 3 drivers are back in 2023 with 2 of them signing extensions this season.
  • RFK Racing (2) – Both drivers are back in 2023.
  • Rick Ware Racing (2) – 2 seats are open as of now for 2023.
  • Front Row Motorsports (2) – Both rides are open for 2023.
  • Live Fast Motorsports (1) – Their seat is open for now in 2023.
  • Wood Brothers (1) – Harrison Burton is back in 2023.

Toyota (6)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing (4) – Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. are each back in 2023. Truex just signed a one-year extension this past June. Rumor is Ty Gibbs will graduate up to the 18.
  • 23XI Racing (2) – Bubba Wallace signed a new extension this past August while Tyler Reddick moves over a year early to replace Kurt Busch in the 45.

The focus is now pretty much on 2024 though. Suarez, Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman are each free agents at the end of next season. Suarez is betting on himself while Truex and Harvick could step out the door in a swan song season leaving rides with JGR and SHR open.

By all accounts, SHR is bracing themselves for life after Harvick starting in 2024. There’s even a possibility that Almiorla walks after next season too leaving them with both Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer. Ryan Preece will play into the mix and it will be interesting if Hailie Deegan will too.

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